How to Live with Arthritis

Article from Orthogate

Arthritis pain is not something pleasant for anyone to live with. Although it is often thought as a side effect of aging, many younger people are affected by inflammatory arthritis. With that in mind, there is a large part of the workforce constantly suffering from arthritis pains. Odds are, you are either one of them, or you know someone who is. The first thing you should do if you suspect that you have arthritis is go see your primary care physician and follow their treatment plan. However, even with meds and treatments, you most likely will still feel pain. Luckily, there are plenty of home remedies that can help you live with them.

Diets and Home Treatments 

While there are several different kinds of arthritis, there are certain home treatments that can benefit each one. One of the major treatments that even the most home-treatment cynical doctors will advise is a change in diet. If you are over a certain weight, your weight may be causing you more pain by causing pressure on your joints. Your doctor may suggest to eat more low carb foods and avoid sugars and red meat. However, the best diet you can follow to lessen your arthritis pain is an anti-inflammatory diet. While it’s not strictly a “diet”, it does help you learn what foods to avoid and what foods you should add to your routine.

Sleep and Pain 

If you are suffering from arthritis pain, you might also be having trouble getting a good night’s rest. Even if you don’t have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, pain can interfere with your REM sleep, causing you to wake up still feeling tired. This article on “Creaky Joints” talks more about the research behind these concerns. Even if your pain doesn’t interfere with your sleep, studies show that your lack of sleep affects your pain levels.

Physical Activity and Arthritis 

Another important part of living with arthritis is staying active. While it may feel like the last thing you want to do, light exercise can help you to stay healthy, no matter what kind of arthritis you have. It is important that you only practice low contact exercises, especially if you have inflammatory arthritis. Exercises that are safe to practice without hurting your joints are swimming, yoga, and cycling. It’s also good to take walks on days that you aren’t up to a workout.

On the other hand, you must learn when to say no and listen to your body. In order to not worsen the progression in your joints, you don’t want to push yourself too far. A walk in the park might be healthy, but you might want to talk to your doctor before agreeing to an all-day hike up a mountain. A lot of people with arthritis pains often feel these pains in full force during and after especially active vacations, so looking into activities that allow for solid exercise without overexertion is crucial for keeping the pain at bay. Doing safe activities for your joints while on a family getaway,  for example, allows for a quality vacation without negative effects and overdoing it.

When you are active or you over-do it, you might find yourself suffering a lot of pain in your joints. When this happens, you can take over-the-counter pain medication or practice some home remedies that might ease the pain. Hot and cold compresses are great for making the swelling go down in auto-immune arthritis reactions, but they are also a good pain relief for osteoarthritis. An old fashioned warm bath could also be the perfect solution to getting some relief. When you push yourself too far, take it as easy as life allows and rest. Your joints will only feel worse if you keep pushing them.

Plan Ahead to Prevent Pain 

Finally, you can prevent arthritis pain by thinking ahead. If you’re going to have a long day, plan times that you can take a break or rest. If mobility aids take some pressure off of your lower joints, think about walking with one. Buy clothes that don’t have as many difficult buttons and zippers and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

It’s not easy to live with the pain of arthritis, but with the right preparations and support system, you can be ready for anything your body throws at you.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Why are my RA symptoms getting worse?

From WebMD, medically reviewed on October 8, 2020
Getting control of you moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult, here are some common reasons why.

You’re Having a Flare

Red, warm, swollen joints are inflamed. A flare is when inflammation in your body spikes. Your symptoms can get worse. You might also have a mild fever, fatigue, and feel sick all over. To treat a flare, your doctor might adjust your medicine to lower the inflammation. To feel better, get more rest and apply hot or cold packs to sore, swollen joints.

You’re Under Pressure

Stress, anxiety, and even depression are common with RA. It’s more than just a bad mood. Depression can make it hard for you to manage your symptoms. Stress tells your body to release cortisol, an anti-inflammatory hormone. But ongoing stress triggers too much cortisol. This makes pain feel worse. Find ways to relax, like yoga, bubble baths, or exercise.

Your Sleep Cycle Is Off

RA pain and sleep trouble are a vicious cycle. If you’re in pain, you can’t sleep well. If you don’t get enough rest, your symptoms get worse. Good habits can help you get the downtime you need. Use guided imagery to distract you from the pain. Take pain meds before bedtime so you can nod off more easily. Switch off your phone and bedside clock. Their lights can disturb your slumber.

Your Meds No Longer Help

Even if what you’re taking has kept your RA under control for a while, things can change. If your body starts to resist current treatments, your symptoms may get worse. Talk to your doctor. You may be able to change to a new treatment. If you’re on a biologic, they might add other rheumatoid arthritis drugs to get your symptoms under control.

You Have Another Disease, Too

As if RA isn’t enough to handle, you can get related conditions that cause similar symptoms. People with RA are more likely to get fibromyalgia, too. It causes chronic pain, fatigue, and tender points that mimic RA. Your doctor can diagnose fibro to be sure it’s the cause of your problems and suggest treatment.

You’re Out of Remission

The goal of RA treatment is to make disease activity stop or slow down greatly so you have few or no symptoms. Doctors call this remission. But it doesn’t always last. RA might return and get worse. Over the years, your symptoms can come and go. See your doctor to adjust your medications.

You Don’t Exercise Enough

RA joint pain and stiffness can make you want to stay on the couch. But if you don’t move your joints, your symptoms will get worse. Exercise actually helps ease RA pain and fatigue. Try to get some activity every day. Walk, bike, or swim to rev up your heart. Do range-of-motion stretches to keep your joints limber. Work your muscles so they stay strong.

You Just Had a Baby

RA symptoms often ease up when you’re pregnant. But this can end soon after delivery. It’s hard to care for a baby when you have severe joint pain and fatigue, too. Your doctor can prescribe treatments that control your symptoms but are also safe for your baby if you plan to breastfeed.

You’re Carrying Extra Pounds

Added weight puts more stress on inflamed joints, which leads to more pain. Too much fat in your body can release hormones that worsen RA inflammation.  Your treatments may not work as well if you’re overweight. Exercise daily, and get help from a nutritionist if you struggle to stay at a healthy weight.

You Smoke

If you have RA and smoke, you should quit! Smokers with RA who quit often see symptoms improve. Smoking raises the odds that you’ll get RA in the first place. It can also affect the way your RA drugs work. They may not control your symptoms like they should. And it can zap your energy so you don’t exercise, which could ease your joint pain. Quit smoking or get help to kick the habit.

You’ve Been Too Active

Exercise is good for your RA, but you can overdo it. If you’ve been active all day, take time to relax. Rest can cool inflamed joints and help you bounce back from fatigue. Take breaks so you don’t get hurt. A physical therapist can teach you how to protect your joints, prevent painful muscle spasms, and exercise safely.

You’re Low on Vitamin D

People with RA often have low levels of vitamin D in their bodies. If you don’t have enough, your RA could become more active. That can lead to painful inflammation and even bone loss over time. Low vitamin D can worsen pain and fatigue. Your doctor can test your blood to measure your levels. More time in the sun (with sunscreen) and supplements might give you what you need.

You Have an Infection

RA and the treatments you take for it make you more likely to get an infection. Your immune system is overworked already, so it’s hard for it to fight off common bugs. Even seasonal flu can trigger RA symptoms. It also puts you at risk for septic arthritis, which causes severe pain in your knees, hips, or shoulders. Get the vaccines that your doctor suggests, such as a yearly flu shot.

You Stopped Taking Your Meds

Maybe they’re too expensive. Or perhaps you felt better so you thought it was OK to ditch your meds. But symptoms may flare up if you stop your medications. Talk to your doctor. You might be able to switch to a drug that doesn’t have as many side effects, or take a lower dose.

You Were Diagnosed Late

Your RA symptoms may be worse if you had the disease for years before you knew it. If it isn’t spotted and treated early, inflammation can lead to joint pain, damage, and deformity that won’t get better. Physical therapy may help you move better and ease your pain. Surgery can also replace your damaged joint with a new one.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

12 Tips for Walking When You Have Sensitive Knees

Sensitive knees can be a challenge for walking, but it is a recommended way to maintain your function and reduce your symptoms. If you have knee pain due to osteoarthritis or other causes, you don’t have to let that keep you from starting a walking program.

A regular program of walking can reduce stiffness and inflammation and it won’t make most chronic knee conditions worse. Walking is the preferred exercise by people with arthritis, and can help you improve your arthritis symptoms, walking speed, and quality of life, according to the CDC.

Walking is part of a healthy lifestyle to keep your heart and bones strong and your joints functioning. Here are tips for walking when you have sensitive knees.

Why Walking Is Good for Your Knees

Your knee joint is composed of bone and cartilage. Cartilage doesn’t have a blood supply that is always nourishing it by the pumping action of the heart and so it relies on joint fluid for nutrition. Moving your joints is the way that you ensure the cartilage receives the nourishment it needs to stay healthy.

You may notice that your joints are stiff and sore in the morning or when you’ve been sitting and inactive during the day. By moving your joints, you help them maintain their function and you may help keep them functioning longer.

Regular exercise maintains and builds muscles, which you need to support your knee and maintain functioning. Weight-bearing exercise such as walking also helps maintain bone health.

Discuss your exercise options with your doctor and physical therapist when you have any condition that is causing knee pain. While walking is recommended for many people, it may not be appropriate for you.

Should You Walk When You Have Knee Pain?

If you have mild to moderate pain in your knees due to osteoarthritis, walking and other exercise helps mobilize your joint fluid and lubricate the joints. You should walk and do other exercises that move your knee joints. You are likely to find that the stiffness, pain, and fatigue improve with exercise.

If you have moderate to severe pain in your knees before you start walking, take it easy. Do a shorter walk at an easy pace or try an activity that doesn’t place much stress on the joint, such as water exercises in a pool. If joint pain remains severe, stop immediately as it is a sign of inflammation or joint damage that needs treatment.

If you have joint pain occasionally the day after a walk or run, you should take a day off and do a shorter workout or one that doesn’t put stress on the joint. If you always have joint pain after exercise, you may have to switch to a form of exercise that doesn’t put stress on the knees, such as cycling or swimming.

Tips for Walking With Sensitive Knees

Taking certain precautions can make it easier to continue your walking routine despite sensitive knees. Here are 12 ways to protect your knees when walking.

  • Add cycling: Incorporate cycling on a stationary bike, bicycle, or even an under-desk cycle to help keep your opposing muscles in shape for better support of the knee.
  • Aim for 6000 steps per day: A study found that people with osteoarthritis knee pain benefit most when they walk 6000 steps or more per day.2 If you wear a pedometer or use a phone app to track your steps, all of your steps during the day count. Make that your first goal. If you can eventually exceed that regularly without increasing pain, that is good.
  • Build your walking time: If you are new to walking, steadily build up your walking time following a plan for beginners. Walking can be broken up into 10-minute segments, with an ultimate goal of 30 minutes per day. Start at an easy or moderate pace as you build endurance. Eventually, aim to walk briskly at 2.5 to 3.5 mph or a pace that has you find challenging.
  • Choose softer walking surfaces: Walking on natural surface trails (dirt, bark dust, pea gravel) is easier on the joints. Although sometimes uneven, natural surfaces provide more balanced exercise. For even surfaces, choose a cinder track or asphalt rather than concrete. Note that flooring in malls and stores is primarily concrete.
  • Choose the right shoes: Shoes should be flat and flexible, bendable in the forefoot with a low heel-to-toe drop. Avoid high heels, pointy toes, and heavy shoes. Look for shoes with a wide toe box. Even a 1.5-inch higher heel can increase pressure on two common sites for knee osteoarthritis damage. Choose heels that are 3/4 inch or less.
  • Keep moving throughout the day: Get up and move around or stretch every 15 minutes. This will keep your joint fluid moving and nourish your knees. Even just a minute can help reduce the health risks of sitting and will be good for your joints.​
  • Lose excess weight: If you are overweight, losing even a few pounds can reduce stress on your knees. Diet is the most effective way to lose weight. You will be able to walk and exercise with less pain and discomfort after some of the excess weight has been lost.
  • Use cold packs after walking: You’ve done well by getting your joint fluid moving. You can apply cold packs afterward to help reduce inflammation.
  • Use inserts: When you have sensitive knees, avoid arch supports and shoes that have a high amount of arch support. You want your foot to move as naturally as possible. You can use over-the-counter orthotics that provide cushioning and support if you think that is helpful for you or they have been recommended by your doctor or podiatrist.
  • Use walking poles: Some people find that using trekking poles or Nordic walking poles helps them with stability and reducing joint fatigue when walking. Canes and other walking aids may be useful, depending on your condition.
  • Walk during low-pain times of the day: If you have a lot of pain or stiffness in the morning, simply try to get up and move around for a minute or two every half hour. You will better enjoy long walks at a time when you have fewer aches, and that will help you be consistent.
  • Warm up: You may benefit from applying heat to your joints before you walk, or walking after taking a warm shower or bath. Starting at an easy pace is recommended for everyone, but especially when you have stiff or sore joints. Start slow to get your joint fluid moving. Then you can pick up your pace after a few minutes.

A Word From New Mexico Orthopaedics

Walking is the most accessible form of physical activity and can help you maintain joint health. However, it’s not the only option. If your sensitive knees keep you from walking, you can get the physical activity you need by enjoying cycling, pool exercises, swimming, or water aerobics.

You should also include resistance exercise to build and maintain muscles, including any specific exercises recommended for your knees by your doctor or physical therapist. Balance exercises can also be beneficial. Once you are confident walking, you can even include them in your walking workouts. Just keep moving!

 


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis Can Show Up Long Before Diagnosis

Signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis Can Show Up Long Before Diagnosis

Article Featured on Medicinenet.com

Difficulties with daily activities such as dressing, walking and eating can be seen in rheumatoid arthritis patients a year or two before they’re diagnosed, a new study shows.

“This is a new finding, and a finding that is quite intriguing,” said lead author Dr. Elena Myasoedova, a rheumatologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

“It may reflect an accumulation of symptoms between the time of first onset and the time required for providers to actually diagnose patients,” she said in a Mayo news release.

The study also found that chronic increased levels of difficulty with daily activities (functional disability) continued even after patients were diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and began treatment.

That may be due to a number of factors, including increasing physical and mental pain, use of treatments such as glucocorticoids and antidepressants, and anticipation of relief from symptoms, she added.

For the study, the researchers looked at 586 rheumatoid arthritis patients and 531 people without the disease in the Rochester Epidemiology Project database of medical records.

The rate of functional disability was more than two times higher among rheumatoid arthritis patients than in those without rheumatoid arthritis. In most age groups, rheumatoid arthritis patients had a 15% or higher rate of functional disability than those without the disease.

The findings show the importance of early treatment for rheumatoid arthritis patients, according to Myasoedova. “Alerting your health care provider to difficulties in daily living can assure that patients receive the help they need,” she said.

About 1.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that most often affects the joints but can also impact other parts of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common chronic conditions associated with functional disability in the United States, and has a significant impact on well-being and quality of life.

Symptoms can include joint pain or swelling, but 40% of patients have symptoms that don’t involve the joints, such as fatigue, fever and loss of appetite.

The study will be published in June in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Benefits of Exercising With Osteoarthritis

IF YOU’RE ONE OF THE more than 30 million Americans who, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have osteoarthritis – the degenerative wear and tear and most common form of arthritis – you might be reticent to exercise.

“Joint pain can accompany osteoarthritis, so people assume that movement will worsen the condition,” says Katrina Pilkington, a Nevada-based National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist.

However, lack of exercise can actually increase joint stress and degeneration. Meanwhile, regular exercise can not only ease symptoms, but actually slow progression of the joint disease, according to a 2018 review published in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation.

Here are five science-backed ways that exercise improves the symptoms and progression of osteoarthritis:

  • Lubricating joints.
  • Replacing damaged cells with new, healthy ones.
  • Strengthening muscles.
  • Reducing excess body weight.
  • Relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Learn more about the benefits of exercising with osteoarthritis.

Lubricating Joints

A soft tissue called synovial membrane surrounds your joints and produces a fluid that acts like gear oil for your joints. This synovial fluid reduces friction to prevent further damage to the cartilage and bone – and exercise stimulates its production, Pilkington explains. Plus, by increasing the flow of oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to the synovial membrane, your joints are able to stay lubricated both during and between your workouts.

Synovial fluid also prevents the collection of inflammatory proteins within joints that can lead to osteoarthritis’ trademark pain, says physical therapist William Behrns, a board-certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

Replacing Damaged Cells With New, Healthy Ones

In osteoarthritis, cartilage wears down, degrades and stops cushioning the joints. However, a 2019 animal study published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine suggests that exercise stimulates cartilage autophagy, the process by which the body clears out and recycles old, damaged cells so that new ones can take their place.

Joint movement during exercise may also activate genes associated with cartilage rebuilding, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

Strengthening Muscles

Even if you’ve never considered yourself a bodybuilder, when it comes to managing osteoarthritis, there’s good reason to pick up some weights, says Chris Kolba, Ph.D., a physical therapist with the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Your muscles are in charge of both bracing the joints as well as absorbing shock when you walk, jog or do anything that involves impact.

“The stronger your muscles are, the more protected your joints will be,” Behrns says. That’s especially true of the knees and hip joints, which constantly support the weight of your entire body.

Reducing Body Weight

Maintaining a healthy body weight is important to making sure that those knees and hips aren’t under any excess stress.

“Joint stresses are directly related to the amount of weight placed on the joint during an activity,” Behrns says. “The less you weigh, the less joint stresses will exist.” He explains that every pound lost results in a four-fold decrease in stress placed on the knee.

If you’re already at a healthy body weight, you’re already enjoying this benefit and losing more weight is not advised.

Relieving Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety

One in five adults with arthritis suffers from anxiety, while depression symptoms occur twice as often in people with arthritis than in those without the disease, according to a 2018 analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pain, mobility limitations and side effects from pain and anti-inflammatory medications are leading reasons for an increase in depression and anxiety in men and women with arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

Exercise is an established method for treating mood disturbances and mental health disorders, and a 2003 analysis published in Exercise and Sport Science Reviews concluded that, “in osteoarthritis, the psychosocial benefits of exercise are as important as physiological improvements.”

 


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Best Exercises for Bone Health With RA

Best Exercises for Bone Health With RA

Article Featured on WebMD

If you take corticosteroids for your RA, it’s a good idea to step up your exercise to help keep your bones strong. You will also strengthen the muscles that support your joints, so you’ll move better. You will also improve your heart health, energy level, mood, balance, and coordination.The best exercises for building bone are weight-bearing exercises, such as these:

Walking

It’s simple, free, and you can do it anywhere. A regular walking program strengthens your hip bones, ankles, and knees. To get the most benefits, walk for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week. You can break that up into three 10-minute strolls, if you like.

Strength Training

You can use exercises with free weights, weight machines, or elastic exercise bands. Do it at a gym or at home with handheld weights, resistance bands, or even soup cans from your cupboard. Aim to do your exercises 2 to 3 days per week. A physical therapist or certified fitness trainer who has experience working with people with RA can get you started.

Yoga

It eases stiffness and tension, and some poses also help your bones. Talk to your physical therapist or find an instructor who has taught people with arthritis. Once you know the postures, you can practice at home.

Stationary Bikes and Elliptical Machines

Does RA affect your back and hips? You may want to try a recumbent bike, in which you sit down with your legs stretched in front of you. It may feel better than an upright bike.

Elliptical trainers give you a good workout and are easy on your knees.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Does Weight Loss Affect Knee Pain

Does Weight Loss Affect Knee Pain?

Why does my knee hurt?

Knee pain is one of the most common complications of being overweight or obese. If you’re among the millions of people who experience chronic knee pain, even a small weight loss can help reduce pain and lower the risk of osteoarthritis (OA).

According to a 2011 report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), of the roughly 100 million American adults who experience common chronic pain, nearly 20 percent, or 20 million people, have knee pain. This is second only to the number of people with lower back pain.

More than two-thirds of people in the United StatesTrusted are either overweight (with a BMI between 25 and 29.9) or obese (with a BMI of 30 or higher).

Those extra pounds increase the stress on your knees. That stress can cause chronic pain and lead to other complications such as OA.

How weight loss affects knee pain

Maintaining a healthy weight has many health benefits, including reduced risk of a number of diseases that include:

  • heart disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • certain types of cancers

Losing weight benefits knee pain in two ways.

Decreases weight-bearing pressure on the knees

Each pound of weight loss can reduce the load on the knee joint by 4 pounds. Lose 10 pounds, and that’s 40 fewer pounds per step that your knees must support. And the results add up quickly. Less pressure means less wear and tear on the knees. This lowers the risk of OA.

Reduces inflammation in the body

For years, OA was considered a wear and tear disease caused by prolonged excess pressure on the joints, particularly the knees, which, in turn, caused inflammation. But recent research suggests that inflammation is a key OA risk factor, rather than a consequence of OA.

Being overweight may increase inflammation in the body that can lead to joint pain. Losing weight can reduce this inflammatory response. One study suggests that just a 10 percent reduction in weight can significantly lower inflammation in the body. Another study found that even simply overeating triggers the body’s immune response, which increases inflammation.

The link between weight gain and OA

Being overweight or obese significantly increases a person’s risk for developing OA. According to John Hopkins Medicine, women who are overweight are four times more likely to develop OA than women who are a healthy weight. And men who are overweight are five times more likely to develop OA than men who are a healthy weight.

But losing even a small amount of weight can be beneficial. For women who are overweight, every 11 pounds of weight loss can reduce the risk of knee OA by more than 50 percent. Men who drop into the overweight category (BMI below 30) and men who drop into the normal weight category (BMI below 26) can reduce their risk of knee OA by 21.5 percent.

Easy ways to lose weight

There are steps you can take to start shedding pounds, including:

  • reduce portion sizes
  • add one vegetable to your plate
  • go for a walk after a meal
  • take the stairs rather than the escalator or elevator
  • pack your own lunch instead of eating out
  • use a pedometer

Taking the necessary steps to manage your weight can help protect your knees from joint pain and reduce your risk of OA.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

More Than Just Joints: How Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects the Rest of Your Body

More Than Just Joints: How Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects the Rest of Your Body

Article by Mary Anne Dunkin | Featured on Arthritis.org

The inflammation that characterizes RA can impact organs and systems, too.

You know that arthritis affects your joints. Painful, swollen knees or fingers are impossible to ignore. But did you know that other parts of your body – your skin, eyes and lungs, to name a few – may also be affected?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease, meaning it can affect many parts of the body. For that matter, so can some of the drugs used to treat RA. Following is a listing by body part of the ways RA (and sometimes the drugs used to treat it) can affect you.

Many of these problems – such as bone thinning or changes in kidney function – cause no immediate symptoms so your doctor may monitor you through lab tests or checkups. For other problems – such as skin rashes or dry mouth – it’s important to report any symptoms to your doctor, who can determine the cause or causes, and adjust your treatment plan accordingly.

Skin

Nodules. About half of people with RA develop rheumatoid nodules – lumps of tissue that form under the skin, often over bony areas exposed to pressure, such as fingers or elbows. Unless the nodule is located in a sensitive spot, such as where you hold a pen, treatment may not be necessary. Nodules sometimes disappear on their own or with treatment with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).

Rashes. When RA-related inflammation of the blood vessels (called vasculitis) affects the skin, a rash of small red dots is the result. In more severe cases, vasculitis can cause skin ulcers on the legs or under the nails. Controlling the rash or ulcers requires controlling the underlying inflammation.

Drug effects. Corticosteroids, prescribed to reduce inflammation, can cause thinning of the skin and susceptibility to bruising. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which treat pain and inflammation, and methotrexate, a widely prescribed DMARD, can cause sun sensitivity. People taking biologics, a sub-category of DMARDs designed to stop inflammation at the cellular level, may develop a rash at the injection site.

Bones

Thinning. Chronic inflammation from RA leads to loss of bone density, not only around the joints, but throughout the body, leading to thin, brittle bones. Exercise, a high-calcium diet and vitamin D can all help bones, but in some cases your doctor may need to prescribe a drug to stimulate bone growth or prevent bone loss.

Drug effects. Corticosteroids can also cause bone thinning.

Eyes

Inflammation and scarring. Some people with RA develop inflammation of the whites of the eyes (scleritis) that can lead to scarring. Symptoms include pain, redness, blurred vision and light sensitivity. Scleritis is usually treatable with medications prescribed by your doctor, but in rare cases, the eye may be permanently damaged. RA can also cause uveitis, an inflammation of the area between the retina and the white of the eye, which, if not treated, could cause blindness.

Dryness. The inflammatory process that affects the joints can also damage the tear-producing glands, a condition known as Sjögren’s syndrome. The result is eyes that feel dry and gritty.  Artificial tears, which are available over the counter, as well as medications your doctor prescribes, can keep eyes more comfortable and help prevent damage related to dryness.

Drug effects. Corticosteroids may cause glaucoma and cataracts. Hydroxychloroquine, in rare cases, causes pigment changes in the retina that can lead to vision loss. As a rule, people with RA should get eye checkups at least once a year.

Mouth

Dryness. Inflammation can damage the moisture-producing glands of the mouth as well as the eyes, resulting in a dry mouth. Over-the-counter artificial saliva products and self-treatment often helps. If not, your doctor may prescribe a medication to increase the production of saliva. Good dental hygiene is a must, as bacteria tend to flourish in a dry mouth, leading to tooth decay and gum disease.

Drug effects. Methotrexate can cause mouth sores or oral ulcers. For treatment, try a topical pain reliever or ask your doctor or dentist for a prescription mouthwash.

Lungs

Inflammation and scarring.  Up to 80 percent of people with RA have some degree of lung involvement, which is usually not severe enough to cause symptoms. However, severe, prolonged inflammation of the lung tissue can lead to a form of lung disease called pulmonary fibrosis that interferes with breathing and can be difficult to treat.

Nodules. Rheumatoid nodules might form in the lungs, but are usually harmless.

Drug effects. Methotrexate can cause a complication known as methotrexate lung or methotrexate pneumonia, which generally goes away when the methotrexate is stopped. Less common drugs, including injectable gold and penicillamine, can cause similar pneumonias. The condition goes away when treatment ceases; patients can usually resume the drug in a few weeks.

By suppressing your immune system, corticosteroids, DMARDs and biologics may increase your risk of tuberculosis (TB), a bacterial infection of the lungs. Your doctor should test for TB before initiating treatment and periodically after.

Heart and Blood Vessels

Atherosclerosis. Chronic inflammation can damage endothelial cells that line the blood vessels, causing the vessels to absorb more cholesterol and form plaques.

Heart attack and stroke. When plaques from damaged blood vessels break lose they can block a vessel, leading to heart attack or stroke. In fact, a 2010 Swedish study found that the risk of heart attack for people with RA was 60 percent higher just one year after being diagnosed with RA.

Pericarditis. Inflammation of the heart lining, the pericardium, may manifest as chest pain. Treatment to control arthritis often controls pericarditis as well.

Drug effects. While many RA medications, including methotrexate, other DMARDS and biologics may reduce cardiovascular risk in people with RA, other medications – chiefly NSAIDs – may increase the risk of cardiovascular events including heart attack. Your doctor will need to evaluate your risk when prescribing treatment for your RA.

Liver

Drug effects. Although RA doesn’t directly harm the liver, some medications taken for RA can.  For example, long-term use of the pain reliever acetaminophen (Tylenol) is considered a leading cause of liver failure. Liver diseases may also occur with long-term methotrexate use. Working with your rheumatologist to monitor your blood is key to preventing problems.

Kidneys

Drug effects. As with the liver, drugs taken for arthritis can lead to kidney problems. The most common offenders include cyclosporine, methotrexate and NSAIDs.  If you are taking these drugs long term, you doctor will monitor your kidney function to watch for problems.

Blood

Anemia. Unchecked inflammation can lead to a reduction in red blood cells characterized by headache and fatigue. Treatment consists of drugs to control inflammation along with iron supplements.

Blood clots. Inflammation might lead to elevated blood platelet levels, and blood clots.

Felty syndrome. Though rare, people with longstanding RA can develop Felty syndrome, characterized by an enlarged spleen and low white blood cell count. This condition may lead to increased risk of infection and lymphoma (cancer of the lymph glands). Immunosuppressant drugs are the usual treatment.

Drug effects. Aggressively treating inflammation with corticosteroids may cause thrombocytopenia, an abnormally low number of blood platelets.

Nervous System

Pinched or compressed nerves. Although RA does not directly affect the nerves, inflammation of tissues may cause compression of the nerves resulting in numbness or tingling. One relatively common problem is carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition in which the nerve that runs from the forearm to the hand is compressed by inflamed tissue in the wrist area, resulting in tingling, numbness and decreased grip strength.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

16 Ways You May Be Hurting Your Joints

16 Ways You May Be Hurting Your Joints

Your joints link bones together so you can bend your knees, wiggle your hips, and move your body. Learn how you might be preventing your joints from working their best.

Carry Extra Weight

Your joints, which link your bones together, are sensitive to heavy loads. Every pound on your frame puts 4 pounds of stress on your knees. It also strains your back, hips, and feet. That causes wear and tear that can lead to damage, aches, and pain. Being overweight also triggers inflammation. That can make all your joints, including in your hands, stiff, painful, and swollen.

Text Too Much

‘Texting thumb’ is a real thing. Your tendons can get irritated and lock your thumb in a curled position. All that looking down at your phone is just as bad for your neck and shoulders, too. Every inch your head drops forward raises the load on your muscles. If you bend your neck so far that your chin touches your chest, it’s as if your neck has to support the weight of 5 heads instead of just one.

Steep Price of High Heels

They might look fab, but the higher they rise, the more your weight tips forward. Your thigh muscles have to work harder to keep your knee straight, which can cause pain. When heels go up, so does the twisting force in your knees. If you wear them every day, you boost your odds for osteoarthritis. That’s when the bones and the cushioning between the bones break down.

Wear the Wrong Shoes

Worn-out shoes don’t support your feet and ankles enough. That’ll throw your knees, hips, and back out of whack. Also, make sure your sneakers are right for your sport. High tops for basketball, for example, can protect your ankles from sprains. But don’t go overboard. Too much cushion or arch support means your foot can’t move naturally, which could keep you in a cycle of pain.

Crack Your Knuckles

That satisfying pop comes from tiny bubbles bursting in the fluid around your joints. Or from ligaments snapping against bone. Despite what annoyed adults might have warned you, it doesn’t cause arthritis. Still, it might be smart to stop. One study showed that this habit may cause your hands to swell and weaken your grip.

Lug a Big Bag

Whether it’s a purse, backpack, or messenger bag, packing too much can cause neck and shoulder pain. Heavy weight on one shoulder throws off your balance and your walk. If you tend to carry things only on one side, the constant pull overstretches your muscles and tires out your joints. If you do that every day, your body’s going to let you know loud and clear.

Use Wrong Muscles for the Job

When you put too much load on little muscles, your joints pay the price. If you need to open a heavy door, push with your shoulder instead of your fingers. When you lift something off the floor, bend at your knees and push up with your strong leg muscles. When you carry something, hold it close to you in the palms of your hands instead of stressing your fingers.

Sleep on Your Stomach

It might help with snoring, but not so much with the rest of your body. Lying on your tummy pushes your head back, which compresses your spine. Your head also will face in one direction for longer stretches than if you sleep on your back. All that puts pressure on other joints and muscles.

Skip Stretching

You don’t need to be a yogi, but regular stretching can help strengthen your muscles and tendons. It also can make them more flexible. That allows your joints to move more easily and helps the muscles around them work better. That’s key to healthy and stable joints.

Skimp on Strength Training

Once you turn 40, your bones start to get a little thinner and more likely to break. If you build muscle with strength training, it slows bone loss and triggers new growth. So you not only get stronger muscles, but denser bones, too. Together, they stabilize your joints so you’re less likely to get hurt.

Smoke and Chew Tobacco

Here’s another reason to quit: Your joints will thank you. Nicotine from cigarettes and chewing tobacco cuts down on blood flow to your bones and to the cushioning discs in your back. It limits how much bone-building calcium your body can take in. It also breaks down estrogen, a hormone you need for bone health. And it slows new growth that thickens bones. All that makes your joints weaker and your hips more likely to break.

Don’t Get Quality ZZZs

You may wonder how poor sleep can affect your joints. One study found that people with arthritis felt more pain after restless nights. That made them take a closer look. One theory is that when you don’t sleep well, it triggers inflammation in your body. That might lead to joint problems over time. More research is needed, but in the meantime, it sure won’t hurt to get good shut-eye.

Slouch and Slump

Your body’s at its best when you work with it, not against it. That’s why posture matters. When you slump in your chair, it puts more stress on your muscles and joints and tires them out. It’s like always jamming on your car brakes when you could just ease down on the pedal instead. So keep your back straight and those shoulders back and down.

Ignore Pain

When you work out, you might think you just need to power through it. After all, no pain, no gain, right? It’s true that some muscle soreness is OK. But not if it lasts for days or if your muscles are swollen or too sore to move or to touch. Joint pain isn’t normal, so pay attention to it. If you think you overdid it, ease up on your exercises. If the pain won’t go away, check with your doctor.

Too Much Computer Time

It can literally be a pain in your neck — and your elbows, wrists, back, and shoulders. The problem isn’t just bad posture, but that you hold it for too long. That overworks your muscles. It also puts pressure on the discs in your back. If you’re in a soft chair, prop up your arms with cushions to take the load off your shoulders and your neck. Be sure to get up and move every hour.

Repeat Poor Form

When you run, bike, or play tennis, you use the same motions over and over. But if your form is bad, you’ll stress your body in all the wrong places. If you overload your muscles, it puts more pressure on your joints, and you can end up with an injury like tennis elbow.

 


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Exercise helps prevent cartilage damage caused by arthritis

Exercise helps prevent cartilage damage caused by arthritis

Article Featured on Science Daily

Exercise helps to prevent the degradation of cartilage caused by osteoarthritis, according to a new study from Queen Mary University of London.

The researchers show for the first time how mechanical forces experienced by cells in joints during exercise prevent cartilage degradation by suppressing the action of inflammatory molecules which cause osteoarthritis.

The study, published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, demonstrates the benefits of exercise on the tissues that form our joints and how this is down to tiny hair-like structures called primary cilia found on living cells.

During exercise the cartilage in joints such as the hip and knee is squashed. This mechanical distortion is detected by the living cells in the cartilage which then block the action of inflammatory molecules associated with conditions such as arthritis.

The researchers show that this anti-inflammatory effect of physical activity is caused by activation of a particular protein, called HDAC6, which triggers changes in the proteins that form primary cilia.

Pharmaceutical drugs that blocked HDAC6 activation prevented the anti-inflammatory effects of physical activity, whilst other drug treatments were able to mimic the benefits of exercise.

Changes in length of the primary cilia, which are only a few 1000th of a millimetre, provided a biomarker of the level of inflammation. Cilia got longer during inflammation, but treatments that prevented this elongation successfully prevented inflammation.

Mr Su Fu, PhD student at Queen Mary University of London and study author, said: “We have known for some time that healthy exercise is good for you — now we know the process through which exercise prevents cartilage degradation.”

Professor Martin Knight, lead researcher of the study added: “These findings may also explain the anti-inflammatory effects of normal blood flow in arteries which is important for preventing arterial disease such as atherosclerosis and aneurism.”

The researchers hope that these findings will help in the search for treatments for arthritis which affects over three million people in the UK causing stiff and painful joints.

The researchers suggest the results may lead to a whole new therapeutic approach known as mechano-medicine in which drugs simulate the effect of mechanical forces to prevent the damaging effects of inflammation and treat conditions such as arthritis.

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Materials provided by Queen Mary University of LondonNote: Content may be edited for style and length.